Food and Wine Festival 2017 at Busch Gardens

Food and Wine Festival 2017 at Busch Gardens

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When you think of summer, you always think about the kids getting out and bugging to go someplace on vacation. But what about the adults, when do we get to have fun?

How about a trip to Busch Gardens®, yeah they have roller coasters and a few water rides but what else do they have?

Imagine this; kids have gone to summer camp or you’ve found a babysitter for them, now it’s our turn to do something fun. So you get together with your closest friends or just you and your significant other and now it’s time for a road trip!

Beginning May 26th and running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through July 2nd, including Memorial Day Monday, we can go to Busch Gardens and drink wine and sample food from different countries. The Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens was the first of its kind that I had ever attended.

Since the boys were in school, I grabbed my aunt and sister and we made it a Ladies Day, it was such a blast!

After we arrived for our tour we were led straight to the Castle O'Sullivans which turns into the Pairings Of Note during the festival and met one of their expert wine ambassadors and he explained what all goes on inside the Pairings of Note. We learned how to pair wine with food:

  • Pick your wine first and then the food to pair
  • Pick food and wine that have a likeness to each other, example: a sweet dessert and a sweet wine
  • Pick food and wine that contrast each other, example: a sour dessert and a sweet wine

We also learned that you have the option to purchase wine from there and then have it waiting for you at the front of the park upon leaving or you can sip on it while walking around the park. They also have a 4 piece band which play jazz music and of course, play songs like Red Red Wine and other wine themed songs, all while you're enjoying 6 samples of their expertly paired food and wine selections.

Next, we went on a tour of the park, looking at different countries and what they offer at kiosks around the park during the festival (more on that later). We also found out that they have three new kiosks joining the park:

  • India

  • Mediterranean
  • Island Freeze Frozen Drinks

I’m not a wine or beer drinker so Island Freeze made a nice touch, especially when the only alcohol I drink is Strawberry Daiquiris.

Now if that doesn’t sound like the best part then this next one will for sure. At the beginning of the tour, we were all given an envelope with that day’s tour schedule, a Food & Wine guide-book, and a Food & Beverage Sampler pass. In other words, we were able to sample 10 entrees, desserts, beer, wine, or specialty non-alcoholic beverages.

Now to elaborate on what we choose to sample at each kiosk:


  • She-Crab Soup
  • Smithfield Ham Tasting
  • Bacon & Cheddar Hushpuppies
  • Strawberry Lemonade

American Southwest:

  • Nothing from here


  • Bangers with Colcannon
  • Irish Cheese Sampling


  • Spam Slider
  • Huli Huli Chicken

Crepes & Coffee:

  • BLT Crêpe
  • Choco-noisette et Banane Crêpe
  • Poulet Cordon Bleu Crêpe

French Quarter:

  • Muffaletta
  • Banana Foster Cheesecake
  • Beignets


  • Cheddar & Lager Chowder
  • Mac & Cheese with Peameal Bacon
  • Venison Sausage & Corn Porridge


  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken
  • Gamba Fritters
  • Mojo Shrimp


  • Nothing from here


  • German Chocolate Cake

Island Freeze:

  • Nothing from here


  • Tiramisu
  • Panna Cotta
  • Mini Cannoli Trio


  • Nothing from here


  • Nothing from here


  • Nothing from here

I know what you may be thinking, “that's a lot more samples than 30.” (10 x 3 people) What we did was we each got one thing, two things, or one person just got one thing, from each of the above kiosks. Then we split them between us.

After all that, we were left to our own devices to enjoy the park, which was nice because it wasn't that hot outside.

We rode a couple of rides like Roman Rapids and The Curse of DarKastle.

Have you ever been to Busch Gardens? If so, which rides do you like?

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